Archive for Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Coal plant supporters are urging passage of ‘comprehensive energy bill’

March 31, 2009, 2:41 p.m. Updated March 31, 2009, 4:25 p.m.


— As a showdown over proposed coal plants approaches, the project’s supporters are urging Kansans to tell legislators to vote for the “comprehensive energy bill.”

A statewide radio advertisement by Americans for Prosperity criticizes the “wasteful spending spree” in Washington, D.C., and then says that the Kansas Legislature is working on an energy bill that is “a true economic stimulus package that bolsters our energy infrastructure through private investment, not taxpayer dollars.”

House Bill 2014, which is expected to be voted on this week, would allow the construction of two 700-megawatt coal-burning electric power plants in southwestern Kansas. Supporters say the plants would be among the cleanest coal-fired units in the country and would produce needed jobs and development in the region.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and a host of environmental groups oppose the plants, citing the project’s annual emission of 11 million tons of climate-changing carbon dioxide, and the fact that 85 percent of the power is destined for out-of-state customers. Sebelius has said Kansas should focus on wind energy and predicted there soon will be federal restrictions on CO2.

Last year, Kansas lawmakers approved three bills to build the plants, but fell several votes short in the House of the two-thirds majority needed to override Sebelius’ vetoes.

This time, supporters of the project say they will have enough votes to override a veto.

In the new legislation, they have married the coal plants to so-called green initiatives.

But environmental groups say those green initiatives have been watered down to the point that they are ineffective.

Americans for Prosperity has become increasingly active in elections and issue advocacy. The nonprofit organization was founded by billionaire David Koch, executive vice president and a board director for Koch Industries, based in Wichita. Koch was the Libertarian Party candidate for vice president of the United States in 1980 and is a well-known backer of anti-tax efforts.

The coal plants vote is further clouded by the nomination of Sebelius by President Barack Obama to lead the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Sebelius could be confirmed to the job soon, leaving the veto to Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson, who some have said would have more difficulty facing down an override attempt.

But in a recent comment, Sebelius disputed that notion, “I don’t think so. This is the area where he has really been the state expert,” adding, “I won’t be far away.”


Chris Golledge 9 years, 2 months ago

"For example, a 500 MW power plant that employs once-through cooling uses over 12 million gallons per hour of water for cooling and other process requirements."

So, we could be looking at 35 million gallons per hour. From where is this water going to come?

Somewhat relatedly,

"The Ogallala Aquifer, the vast underground reservoir that gives life to these fields, is disappearing. In some places, the groundwater is already gone."

Again, why would we trade farming industry for coal industry? We would not be getting much power or many jobs, but we would be getting all the pollution and the extra burden on already stretched water resources.

handley 9 years, 2 months ago

Don't you think that the lobbyist's have wasted enough of the taxpayers money. If Colorado needs all that electricity let them build the plants their. The bill has been vetoed three times already. Let it go.

frank mcguinness 9 years, 2 months ago

Arumer must have brain damage to think there will be major prosperity for western kansas from the proposed plants.

Sure the company will make stacks of cash but only about 200 people will be employed there if the plants were completed.

Wow all that prosperity makes me want to move to holcomb.


doc1 9 years, 2 months ago

If those plants use 12 million gallons of water an hour from the Ogallala Aquifer the farmers and the U.S. will be in big trouble soon.

The Ogallala Aquifer, the vast underground reservoir that gives life to these fields, is disappearing. In some places, the groundwater is already gone. This is the breadbasket of America—the region that supplies at least one fifth of the total annual U.S. agricultural harvest. If the aquifer goes dry, more than $20 billion worth of food and fiber will vanish from the world’s markets. And scientists say it will take natural processes 6,000 years to refill the reservoir.

rorik23 9 years, 2 months ago

I'm not sure where the general statement "good for western Kansas" comes from with the coal plants. They will have little economic benefit for most of western Kansas. In terms of economic development, the coal plants would be good for the few jobs they create (I'm not sure how many, but there would probably be a couple hundred temporary construction jobs and probably 20-40 permanent jobs). In addition, the plants would be good for the Finney County tax base. But, the Finney County tax base is in pretty good shape when compared to the rest of the state, largely due to the existing plant and the meatpacking industry. In fact, the tangible assessed valuation of Finney County (for 2007) was the 11th highest in the state, out of 105 counties. It is higher than most eastern Kansas counties.

rorik23 9 years, 2 months ago

Arumer - didn't a dozen or so counties in western Kansas try that several years ago? I vaguely remember something about that.

Ogallala_Kid 9 years, 2 months ago

Most of those posting from Lawrence with concerns about the Ogallala simply wouldn't support current agriculture, either, because it consumes lots of water.

The water rights which be used by the power plants are currently devoted to growing corn. That supports 2-3 farm hands per section. Instead, the power plants would support 200-250 high value jobs. Plus the several thousand jobs needed over a 5 year construction period. Then the area would also benefit from tens of millions of dollars of taxes all paid for by those Colorado people that all the people in Lawrence seem to dislike.

The people in Lawrence have not figured out that people do support these plants, almost two-thirds of the legislature last year...short by only a couple of votes. We will see this year.

Maybe it is Lawrence should become their own state? But then who would pay for that big ole University that we all pay for? Without a University, maybe Lawrence would be looking for a couple of hundred jobs?

And without the power plants, that water is going to continue to be pumped for growing corn.

Ogallala_Kid 9 years, 2 months ago

To logicsound;

Did the farmers that use this water sign off?

It is totally a voluntary transfer. So yes. And by the way, these water rights, as an industrial use, will actually be LESS than as an agricultural use supported by the same land.

So guess what, you are saving water by converting to this use.


I think you'll find that the percentage of the University funded by taxpayers is fairly small....

The last time I checked, the University received over a Quarter of a Billion dollars in tax money from the taxpayers. Maybe not to you, but thats a lot of money to me. And after having paid that compulsory amount, you call resident tuition a "discount." A discount from what?

Which reminds me, if SW Kansas should not produce and sell energy to Colorado, why should Kansans be educating any non-resident students. Aren't 30%-40% of the students non-residents?


"Kansas residents will get absolutely no part of taxes paid by Colorado residents."

Of course they will. The plants will have significant value and will contribute tens of millions of property taxes over time, thus benefiting city, county, and Kansas schools. Those taxes will be financed by charges to the Colorado utilities, hence are being paid by the electricity consumed by Coloradans. Some of these taxes will go straight to Topeka as part of the state wide levy to finance public schools, and .....also buildings at the Regents institutions.

Ogallala_Kid 9 years, 2 months ago

"all Kansans receive a large discount in tuition "

It's a large discount, Kansans. Ha Ha Ha. Welcome to Wal-Mart.

I think logicsound needs to take one of those discounted KU classes, maybe Budgets #101.

Ogallala_Kid 9 years, 2 months ago

Oh, and logicsound, don't forget about the taxpayer supported research Kansans help pay for. What is that, another $ 200 plus million? That amounts to just under One Half Billion dollars a year taxpayer support.

Jaylee 9 years, 2 months ago

article should be titled "Coal plant supporters urge environmental ignorance, financial disaster"

Ogallala_Kid 9 years, 2 months ago

So long as logic sound types paragraphs like the following, he shows his own educational deficits:

"Yes, the plants will owe property taxes—KANSAS property taxes. Saying that those taxes are coming from Colorado residents because the revenue from those residents will be used, in part, to pay for the KANSAS property taxes owed by Sunflower is disingenuous."

Disingenuous? No, I call that being correct. Same thing happens when a Colorado car customer buys a GM car which was manufactured in Wyandotte County.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.